Ronyal's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Ronyal's Smile Says More Than Enough

Posted on Fri, 02/04/2011 - 00:00 by Michelle_Bradburn

It was a bitter-sweet time as we bid farewell last night to three families who have become very precious to us. Ronyal, Lawand, and Abdullah had all been released by the doctors to return home, and as we gathered to say goodbye, I sensed every heart was full. Nearly every eye in the room shone with tears as we exchanged hugs and paused to pray a blessing over these families on the last leg of this grand adventure; an adventure of love, of healing, and new life. I pray that even as it comes to a close in this place, it would only be the beginning for these dear families with new hope in their eyes!

I was not here for very long before saying goodbye to Ronyal and her mother (just under two weeks since returning from our trip to Kurdistan), yet as we stood to say goodbye, I truly felt like they were family. I love the smile that fills Ronyal's face now, the warmth of friendship and life that is hinted in those eyes which were once so lifeless. As we gathered for the sweet going-away party, we were able to give gifts and share from our hearts what these friend have meant to us, and the prayers that fill our hearts as we remember them. Though Ronyal is still so shy and doesn't say much, the smile that she gave in return said more than enough.

As they drove away in the van Friday morning, Ronyal broke into a beautiful smile as we waved goodbye, and my heart soared with hope for this girl...yet I know that the hope God has for her is even grander and more beautiful than I could ever imagine. I pray that with each new day in this new year of waiting, she would discover the unknown strength and love that God has in store for her.

Joy In Her Eyes

Posted on Mon, 01/31/2011 - 06:51 by Michelle_Bradburn
Today was a sweet day at the hospital for Ronyal. After quite a bit of waiting she was led kindly into the echo room by the doctor, and patiently endured the long observation of her heart. The doctor pointed out how her pulmonary arteries are too small, which is why a complete repair was not possible for this time. However, they believe that with the repair this first surgery has made, and with new oxygen flowing through her heart, the arteries will grow and, Lord willing, in a year will be ready for a full repair.

So with the completion of the echo, the doctor smiled at Ronyal and told her that her heart was doing very well, and she's free to return to her home in Iraq! So she was released with much joy in her eyes (and her mother's eyes), with the invitation to return to Israel for follow-up surgery in one year.

We were all very glad for this news, and so thankful to see what God has done. I was especially grateful to see this beautiful new hope for Ronyal's life; it seems like just yesterday I met her in the echocardiogram screening in Kurdistan (around two months ago), a frail, frail girl with no life in her eyes. Her life was on the line every minute we waited and strove to get her to Israel in time, and it's so very evident God's hand was leading every second, caring for every need. Now she has more color in her face, more strength in her bones, a much healthier appetite, and most beautiful- the light of life glowing in those lovely eyes. I'm so very thankful for this beautiful girl I have been able to call sister, and look forward with eager expectation to see how the Lord will continue moving in her life!

Taking Care of Ronyal

Posted on Wed, 01/26/2011 - 06:51 by Mary_Dailey

Ronyal had to go to the hospital last night because she had an upset stomach. The medical staff (pictured above) were very gracious and saw to her immediately despite the late hour (after 11 pm). Due to her being so frail we all are being very cautious with her, even the hospital.

Ronyal seemed to be o.k. this morning (above) and she ate her breakfast, so they said she could come back with us to Jerusalem, and they said she needed to come for a blood test and echo on Sunday. They also said that we needed to get her enough Ensure (a nutritional supplement) for 40 days. The nurse said she should always be drinking this. We could tell that Ronyal was happy to be coming back and she was very glad to see us. Little Akar, another patient from Iraq, noticed her polished fingernails and she just smiled. While we were in the room a lady from the computer room came and asked her if she wanted to come down. While we were waiting she did and seemed to enjoy it.

Please keep praying for Ronyal. She really is improving and gets around more everyday. To someone who doesn't know her condition it may seem like she is not improving, but we know how she was before and how she is now and she really is growing stronger. She is also smiling and seems to be enjoying being with all of us. Just be praying that God will continue strenghtening her and reveal to her and her mother that He is the healer and can give her a fulfilled life. Thank you for your prayers.

A Year To Grow Strong

Posted on Mon, 01/24/2011 - 06:51 by Donna_West
Ronyal is moving slowly but she is progressing. Today Dr. Alona stopped one of her medications and said the shunt in Ronyal's heart is doing what it was intended to do. She prescribed increased exercise, food, sunshine and one more echo before Ronyal returns to Iraq for a year of healing and growing strong.

If the healing and strength continue over the next year, they hope she will then be ready for a full surgical repair.

A Weekend Return to the Hospital

Posted on Mon, 01/17/2011 - 06:51 by Donna_West
At about 7:30 PM Saturday night, Ronyal's mother asked me to come see Ronyal because her breathing had changed within the last half hour. She was not in pain nor was she fevered, but her breathing was obviously more rapid than usual and the suddenness of the change was not to be ignored. When I phoned the medical staff at Wolfson Hospital, they took into consideration some previous lung complications and felt she should be seen. Ronyal tearfully and reluctantly consented to go to the hospital with hopes that she would be able to return to Shevet Achim to sleep. A little after midnight, Gadi and I returned without Ronyal and her mother, leaving them in the capable hands of Wolfson medical staff.

Early Sunday morning I returned to bring Ronyal and her mother back. Dr.Tamir explained (after examining vital signs, oxygen levels, a lung x-ray, an echo and current medications) that Ronyal's lungs are now receiving a greater amount of blood flow than her body is accustomed to receiving. It will take some time for her body to adjust. The blood vessels in the lungs need time to grow and expand. It requires a delicate balance in medication to regulate the speed the heart pumps the blood with the dilation of the vessels in the lungs as she grows and becomes healthier. He adjusted her medications. Dr.Tamir feels it will be in Ronyal's best interest to give this process time (likely about a year) to stabilize and improve before more surgery is done. It is not wise to try to make the heart stronger than the lungs can handle.

This next year will be a very strategic year for Ronyal. The vitamin D, iron, calcium, sunshine and exercise she will need to build her strength will require the strong and ferverent prayer of righteous believers behind it to prepare her frail body for the next surgery. When Ronyal returns to Iraq, she will disappear from our blogs. I ask you this, "What can we do to help you remember Ronyal as she becomes 'out of sight'? Can we send you a picture file for you to print for your refrigerator?" Just tell us what you need to help her with what she needs-your prayers.

Weak and Fragile, Ronyal Leaves Hospital

Posted on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Ronyal and her mother were released from Wolfson Hospital to come to the Shevet House in Jerusalem this afternoon. Half of the medicine she left the hospital with was nutritional supplements like calcium, vitamin D and iron. She seems very fragile and weak but we are trusting God to continue the good work He has started in her. We will be returning to Wolfson with her on Monday for a follow up exam and echo. Please keep Ronyal in prayer. She has many adjustments to make in the coming days and weeks in her health, strength and environment.

Ronyal Past ICU

Posted on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey

It was great to see Ronyal out of ICU and in the regular childrens ward today. Her coloring looks so much better and her mother doesn't look worried. Ronyal is not smiling yet, but I feel she soon will be. She really looks better than I've seen her. I didn't get to talk to any of the doctors about her but it's a good sign that she is now in the ward with no tubes. Please continue praying for her. We're all trusting that God will give her a new life, spiritually and physically. He's a great God and nothing is too hard for him.

Not the Girl from the Pictures

Posted on Sun, 01/09/2011 - 00:00 by ryan

Ive only ever seen pictures of Ronyal. In them, her tone is blue, her appearance brittle. Her face tells an aloof placidness, and you cannot perceive if it is from pain, fear, apathy, or hopelessness. At nearly 17, Ronyal is more woman than child, and there is an intensified sense in which she is able to understand what is at stake in the current moment, more so than the other much younger children at Shevet Achim. Before visiting her this morning, myself and my coworkers picked two small boys up from the Gaza border; these children, a one year old and a five year old, cannot thankfully comprehend the import of heart surgery.

After passing through the double-wide steel door of the ICU with Ronyals mother, I right away saw the girl lying in the bed on the far side of the room. As I approached, I knew this was a different girl than the one in the pictures. The girl in the bed had skin the color of rained-on earth a rich, full brown. The picture connected to the blog does not capture it. I was not able to speak with a doctor about her condition, but from a simple glance one can tell that this girl is on the mend. There may still be a way to go, but praise God, on the mend.

Recovering From Emergency Surgery

Posted on Thu, 01/06/2011 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey
Tim (who came from Wales to help us for two weeks) and I went to Wolfson this afternoon to visit Ronyal. I was really surprised when Ronyal's mother came up to me outside and told me that Ronyal had surgery last night. She took me right into ICU and Dr. Alona was with her. I asked her what had happened and she told me that they had to do a emergency surgery last night and they brought her to ICU at 2:00 a.m. The surgery went well and she was stable. I asked if it was heart surgery (this was before I saw her) and she said yes. Another doctor told me that Ronyal may need another surgery later (this surgery was to place a shunt, not a full repair), but everything looked well for now. They were already beginning to extubate her from artificial respiration. Her mother looked tired but not too worried.

Please be praying for this young girl and her mother. We just thank God that she was in the hospital when this happened, I know He was looking after her. We may never know how close she was to death. She has lived like this for 15 years and this almost seems impossible but with God all things are possible. Her already being extubated is really a good sign. Very seldom do they extubate someone this soon. Pray that this will be a beginning to a new life for her.

Her Journey Leads to Isolation

Posted on Sun, 01/02/2011 - 00:00 by Jennifer_Chang
Ronyal was still in isolation in her private room on Level Two at Wolfson Hospital when I dropped in to see her late this morning. As it was lunchtime, I had a quick 'chat' with her mother (through an Arabic-speaking nurse) as their food trays were being brought into the room. Earlier at the nurses station I learned that Ronyal was under observation for suspected tuberculosis, and that she had been moved to a special ward for this purpose. The doctors are uncertain when she will be moved back to the regular childrens ward; perhaps in a day or two.

She seemed unhappy about being confined to the private room with its quiet environment and uncomfortable loneliness; in the children's ward there is 'life' bustling all around, especially with the Iraqi mothers visiting each other when their children are resting or asleep. As we wait, we can only pray for God's continuing guidance upon her journey of healing.